Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, on Monday sacked his defence and foreign ministers amid demonstrations against his third term bid.
Defense minister, Pontien Gaciyubenge, who earlier this month had said the army would play a neutral role in the street protests and respect the Constitution, International Affairs Minister, Laurent Kavakure, and Trade Minister, Marie Nizigiyimana, have all been fired according to thePresidential spokesman, Gervais Abayeho.
He named Emmanuel Ntahonvukiye, a civilian, as his new defence minister, and Alain Aime Nyamitwe as foreign minister, as well as replacing the trade minister.
Nyamitwe is said to be related to the presidential spokesman, Willy Nyamitwe.
The shakeup of cabinet also days after a coup led by Maj Gen Godefroid Niyombare was foiled in the capital Bujumbura.
Anti-third term protesters, meanwhile, gathered in several parts of the capital Bujumbura, singing songs and blowing whistles, each time chased away by soldiers shooting in the air, then regrouping elsewhere.
“It was courageous to protest today after all the threats that demonstrators have received from the authorities… and the presence of many heavily armed soldiers, who have not stopped firing live rounds — but fortunately into the air and not at demonstrators,” said Pacifique Nininahazwe, a protest leader told AFP.
At least 20 people have so far died in street battles with security forces before the demonstrations that have been ongoing for close to a month now.
AFP quotes Bujumbura mayor, Juma Saidi, speaking on state television on Sunday, that “demonstrators will be considered as part of the coup, and security forces have been ordered to treat them as such”.
Revenge attacks, selective arrests of Tutsis
Nkurunziza’s Hutu militia has also started a selective arrest and detention of Tutsis, we have been reliably informed.
The ruling party’s ruthless Imbonerakure, militia notorious for throwing grenades at protesters, has now started revenge attacks.
The militia shoots live ammunition at protesters where the army is unable to restrain them.
“Those fleeing to Rwanda at Bugarama, any holder of an identity card of Commons is called Tutsi and arrested,” a source told us.
The source said last night, the same selective arrests on ethnic basis occurred.
“The victims were transported to unknown places,” said the source insinuating that Nkurunziza was already baking a genocide.
We were unable to independently verify this claim.
It was the same style Rwanda employed to commit the 1994 genocide.
The ruling party armed radical Interahamwe youth that tortured Tutsis and killed thousands of them.